THE DOUBLE THREATS: Jared Leto | Jack Black | Carrie Brownstein | Common | Andy Samberg | Donald Glover | Jennifer Hudson | Ice Cube | Anna Kendrick | Rita Ora | Ludacris
"All rappers act to a degree; we're acting out our own thoughts. But acting is a craft, and it's not as easy as everyone thinks it is. When you're acting, it's someone else's script, so you're only taking on a role. It's more challenging to be in someone else's shoes. When you're doing music, it's easy to be yourself: You have a blank canvas to do whatever you want."
Hitmaking Vs. Hollywood
"I make sacrifices all the time for music or movies, just because I'm focusing on one. I was supposed to be in [2007 film] American Gangster with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, but I turned it down so I could finish recording [2006 album] Release Therapy. And I actually won a Grammy for that album, so that's something I don't regret. I set out to win best rap album that year, and that's what I did. I can guarantee I would not have the album turned in on time if I took a month to do that movie."
The Billboard Shoot: Double Threats Jennifer Hudson, Andy Samberg, Jack Black and More
A Fellow Double-Threat's Advice
"Ice Cube sat me down one day and said, 'Be patient and pick the right roles, as opposed to taking whatever comes to you.' He said that over time, it's going to pay off. That's exactly the path that I'm on: I'm strategic and selective about everything I do."
- He has won three Grammys, including best rap album for Release Therapy in 2006.
- His 11 films have grossed $916.6 million.
- Ludacris first broke into showbiz as Chris Lova Lova, a DJ-personality on Atlanta radio station WHTA.
This story originally appeared in the Feb. 28 issue of Billboard.